Heard that story of unfair treatment before? You might be dealing with a serial retaliator


Ever felt déjà vu when an employee claimed she was suffering retaliation because of a prior discrimination or harassment complaint? If what the employee describes sounds familiar, watch out. You may have a serial retaliator on your hands, and those earlier incidents may end up being used to prove retaliation has occurred again.

Worker's crazy email likely won't cost you in court

Not every complaint amounts to “protected activity” that shields an employee from retaliation.

Trying to drive out employee can backfire

Efforts to make life so miserable for an employee that she quits can come back to haunt you. It could be seen as retaliation—even if the employee never quits.

Doesn't matter that he didn't put a ring on it! Engagement unnecessary for retaliation

Back in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an employee who was fired after his fiancé—who worked for the same employer—filed an internal discrimination complaint could sue on his own accord alleging retaliation. The fiancé, the court concluded, was within the “zone of interest” meant to be protected from retaliation under Title VII. The Court held that by firing someone’s significant other, the employer in effect would indirectly punish the complainer. Until now, exactly who would be included in the “zone of interest” was in question.

Whistle-blower can go directly to court after internal review

An employee who tries to internally report alleged wrongdoing and is then fired can pursue internal remedies—and then go directly to court with her discharge and retaliation claims.

Retaliation hits record: Alert bosses to risk

While employees filed fewer charges of job discrimination in 2014 than the year before, one new statistic from the EEOC should make HR and employers stand up and take notice: More than 2 in 5 charges last year allege some form of retaliation against the employee for pursuing the discrimination claim.

Simple transfer could be considered retaliation


Ordinarily, retaliation re­quires a so-called adverse employment action, such as discharge or demotion. Lesser actions, such as a lateral transfer, don’t count. That is, unless that transfer carries with it serious consequences—such as a dramatically longer commute.

It could be retaliation: Think twice before forcing transfer that greatly affects commute


Employees who complain about alleged discrimination, either to their employer or to an agency such as the EEOC, are protected from retaliation. Ordinarily, that re­quires a so-called adverse employment action like discharge or demotion. Lesser actions, such as a lateral transfer, don’t count.

2 big cases reinforce: Beware adverse action against employees who report wrongdoing

Two California Court of Appeal districts have significantly ex­­panded employee protection for whistle-blowers. The cases highlight that employees don’t actually have to “blow the whistle” to be protected from retaliation.

Minnesota State Supreme Court extends time for whistle-blowers to file

The Minnesota Supreme Court has overturned 20 years of precedent, ruling that some whistle-blower cases may be filed up to six years following an employer’s discriminatory act.

Employee's discrimination complaint shouldn't derail legitimate discipline

Some employees think they can keep from getting fired by going to HR or the EEOC with a discrimination complaint. Then, they reason, if their employer does terminate them, it will be retaliation. Fortunately, that’s not true.

Whistle-blower alert: Beware punishing employees who report customer wrongdoing


You may prefer a “don’t rock the boat” mentality when it comes to reporting to police or other governmental authorities that a customer may be breaking the law. That doesn’t mean you can force employees to remain silent—or worse yet, punish them for going to authorities. Doing that could cost a fortune in damage awards, especially if it turns out that your employee was right.

Jury trial approved for retaliatory discharge claims

Employees who claim they were fired for seeking workers’ comp benefits are entitled to a jury trial. That can result in big damages, as juries are notoriously prone to making employers pay.

Not every complaint amounts to protected activity


It’s illegal to retaliate against employees for engaging in protected activity. But not every complaint qualifies as protected activity. For example, under Title VII, retaliation is only illegal if it relates to a complaint about some form of discrimination covered by that law.

False arrest can be retaliation

It’s almost always a bad idea to make an example out of a terminated employee.
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